state fair

GREAT FALLS, MONT. – From youth livestock contests and rodeos, to carnivals to late night concerts, ExpoPark will soon be bustling with Montana State Fair activities on July 26-Aug. 3. For 88 years Montana State Fair has made sure “it’s all good in the 406.”

The fair kicks off on Friday, July 26, with gates opening at noon. The fair is open from noon to midnight on weekends and from noon to 11 p.m., on weekdays. Admission for the fair is $8 for adults, $5 for youth and seniors over 60. Children under five are admitted for free. For those interested, there is a Montana State Fair 10-Pack Bonus Buy – $50 buys you 10 fair gate admission tickets (must be bought in increments of 10). This package is only available for purchase until July 26, and there will be limited free parking by the Northwest Bypass entrance.

A staple at any fair is a carnival and the Mighty Thomas Carnival for the 26th straight year will yet again be set up at ExpoPark starting Friday, July 27, and will continue daily until Aug. 4. The carnival will feature some of its fan favorite rides, Speed. With a wingspan of 140 feet, Speed spins passengers around at a thrilling rate of 13 rpm, allowing individuals to experience G-force sensations.

Mighty Thomas Carnival is proud to present two new rides for fairgoers this year. The Star Tower, a 90-foot tall chair swing ride, is designed for older children and adults. This ride will provide spectacular aerial views of the ExpoPark grounds and will be making its debut at Montana State Fair.

Also new to the lineup will be the ride Black-Out, which debuted at the Hawaii State Fair earlier in the season. The ride’s first time in the continental United States will be during the Montana State Fair. For this ride, 12 passengers are secured in a gondola and are rotated and twisted on arms that are 80 feet off the ground.

Pre-sale carnival wristbands are available until July 26 for $22. Visit goexpopark.com/coupons/ to purchase wristbands. The carnival’s main office will be located on the midway during the fair. Credit cards are accepted, and ATM machines are located throughout the grounds.

The Great Falls Turf Club will be hosting horse races during the first part of Montana State Fair as well. Start times are at 1 p.m., on July 20, 21, 26, 27 and 28. Visit www.greatfallsturfclub.org or call 406-727-4249 for more information on the races.

This year’s Montana State Fair will offer 22 different competitive departments for potential exhibitors to take advantage of. The State Fair is a venue for youth and adults alike to showcase their hard work and hobbies. Photography, quilting, culinary, fine arts, livestock and floriculture are just a few of the potential classes available to enter. For more information, please call 406-727-8900. Entry forms can also be found at www.goexpopark.com/competitive-exhibits.

Of course, there will be plenty of fried food and other delectable eats available to fairgoers. Grab a bite to eat and cruise through the over 200 commercial vendors that will be set up throughout ExpoPark.

The O’Haire Motor Inn, located at 17 7th Street South, will be serving as the official hotel for the Montana State Fair. Family owned and operated, the hotel offers 68 comfortable and modern rooms. For reservations, please visit their website ohairemotorinn.com, or call 800-332-9819.

For more information about the Montana State Fair, and to stay up to date on the event goings-on, please visit www.goexpopark.com.